In 1520 Luther’s commentary on Galatians was translated into Spanish, as well as his treatise on Christian Liberty, and they were printed in Antwerp.
The Supreme Council of the Spanish Inquisition, in 1530, addressed a circular letter to the inquisitors dispersed over the kingdom, informing them that the writings of Luther had made their way into the country under fictitious names, and that his errors were introduced in the form of notes appended to the works of Catholic authors and therefore they were required to add to the annual edict of denunciation a clause relating to such books, and to examine all public libraries with the view of discovering them. This led to the domiciliary visits which the officers of the Inquisition were accustomed, at a subsequent period, to pay to private houses. During the following year the inquisitors were authorized to strike with the sentence of excommunication all who hindered them in the discharge of their duty, and all who read or kept such books or who did not denounce those whom they knew to be guilty of that offence. The same penalty was extended to the parish priests who did not publish the edict in every city, town and village, and all prelates of the regular orders, confessors and preachers were laid under an obligation to urge their hearers and penitents, under the pain of incurring mortal sin, to inform against themselves and others. The edicts declared: “…if they knew or had heard it said, that any person had taught, maintained, or entertained in his thoughts, any of these opinions.”
A simple commoner from the country was brought before the inquisitors in Seville, accused of having said to some friends, that he did not think there was a purgatory but that the blood of Christ was the only way of cleansing sin. He confessed that he had thought so, but, understanding that it was offensive to the holy fathers, declared himself ready to retract the sentiment. This was by no means satisfactory to the inquisitors, who told him, that by adopting that one error he had involved himself in a multitude; for, if there was no purgatory, then the pope, who had decreed the contrary, was not infallible, then general councils had erred, then justification was by faith, and so on. In vain did the poor man protest that such ideas had never once entered into his mind, he was remanded to prison until he should be prepared to retract them. The consequence was that he was led seriously to think on these topics, and came out of the Inquisition a confirmed Lutheran.
Juan Valdés was from a good family and received a liberal education. He probably studied at the University of Alcala. Valdés wrote a letter to his friend Bartolomé Carranza, in which he advised him to not rely on the interpretations of the fathers in understanding the Scripture, that justification was by faith in the passion and death of Christ, and that we could have assurance of salvation. Valdés attached himself to the court, and he left Spain in 1535 in the company of Charles V., who then sent him to Naples to act as secretary to the viceroy. Though not in Spain, through the circulation of his writings he contributed greatly to the spread of the reformed opinions in his native land. Valdés pastored a reformed church in Naples until his death in 1540. His commentary of Romans was published in Spanish in Venice in 1556.
Rodrigo de Valerio was born in 1500 in Lebrixa, which is about 30 miles from Seville. He spent his youth in those idle and dissipated habits which were common among the nobility and gentry of Spain. The love of dress, horses, and sports took up most of his time. In Seville, where he spent most of his time, de Valerio was a leader among the young men of fashion in both amusement and feats of gallantry. In 1520, he suddenly disappeared from those places of entertainment, where he had been the life of the party. His splendid equipage was laid aside; he became negligent of his dress and shut himself up in his closet, devoting himself entirely to reading and meditating on religious matters. De Valerio bought a copy of the Vulgate, the Latin Bible, and spent hours memorizing Scripture. He memorized most of the Bible. Through the study of the Scripture he came to a reformed view of doctrine. After this season of a solitary life of prayer, Scripture memory and study, de Valerio believed that he must enter society again to impart to others the truths he had found. He sought the company of clergy and monks, whom he first addressed with arguments and persuasions and then with severer reproof. Soon they shunned de Valerio but he threw himself in their way in public places swiftly introducing the topic of religion and the need for reform. He also preached publicly on the truth of Scripture. De Valerio was soon brought before the inquisitors, which took place in 1528. However through the influence of individuals of considerable authority, who secretly had been persuaded by him, working on his behalf, and his station in society, as well as the judges believing that he must be out of his mind, de Valerio was given a mild sentence, the loss of all his property. For a short time he refrained from public preaching, speaking only to his friends and a group of followers, during this time he taught through the book of Romans to them. Soon though his zeal pushed him to resume preaching in public. He saw himself as a soldier who must lead a charge, personally doomed to fall, but inspiring others to follow him and secure victory. In 1541, de Valerio was brought before the inquisitors again, sentenced to life in prison and to wear a san-benito. The san-benito was a garment worn by those who were found to be heretics by the Spanish inquisitors and was yellow with a red cross or black with red flames and devils, and usually made of sack cloth. On feast days he was brought with other prisoners to services at the church of St. Salvador in Seville. After the sermon he would stand and tell those present where the sermon did not agree with the Scripture. So he was sent to a monastery in San Lucar, near the mouth of the Guadalquivir, where he lived in seclusion until his death in 1550.
Juan Gil (Dr. Egidius) was born in Olvera in Aragon. He went to the University of Alcala where he distinguished himself by his skill in scholastic theology, which used reason and logical arguments to arrive at truth. He reveled in arguing absurd, obscure and minute points of doctrine. After obtaining the highest academic honors, he was appointed professor of divinity at Siguenza. Egidius was unanimously voted in to fill the office of canon-magisterial or preacher in the cathedral, which was the seat of the diocese, of Seville. But though he was well studied in scholastic authors, such as Lombard, Aquinas and Scotus, he proved to be a very unpopular preacher. Being so unpopular and desiring to be a useful preacher Egidius began to strongly desire to be relieved from his office. While in this state of mind he was approached by Rodrigo de Valerio, who was able to penetrate into his thoughts and feelings about his preaching. De Valerio exhorted him to diligently and seriously study the Scripture and to teach the people what he learned, that this was the sure remedy to improving his preaching. He took de Valerio’s advice and soon his preaching was filled with life. As Egidius was filled with the wonder of the truth of God’s Word, he was able to clearly communicate with his listeners and many of them repented of their sin and looked to Christ’s finished work for salvation. His zeal was more tempered than de Valerio’s and his manner more cautious because he knew his danger. Reynaldo Gonzalez de Montes, who was saved under his preaching wrote of Dr. Egidius, “Among the other gifts divinely bestowed on this holy man, was the singular faculty which he had of kindling in the breasts of those who listened to his instructions a sacred flame which animated them in all the exercises of piety, internal and external, and made them not only willing to take up the cross, but cheerful in the prospect of the suffering of which they stood in jeopardy every hour; a clear proof that the master whom he served was present with him, by his Spirit engraving the doctrine which he taught on the hearts of his hearers.” Two of Egidius’s friends from the university, Dr. Vargas and Constantine Ponce de la Fuente, came to join him in his work and quickly embraced Egidius’s biblical teaching and sought to help him in teaching the people of Seville. Vargas worked among the more learned, teaching through Matthew, Romans and the Psalms. The Inquisition kept their eye on the three men’s preaching, sending spies to listen to them and working to spread distrust of them but they held off in attacking Egidius because of his popularity and the emperor’s favor towards him. In 1550 the emperor nominated Egidius to the vacant bishopric of Tortosa, one of the richest church offices in Spain. This nomination so enraged his enemies that they finally took him in before the inquisitors. He was found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison as well as made to do public penance. After leaving prison in 1555, he went to Vallodolid, where he found some reformed believers and received and gave encouragement. He then returned to Seville, where tired by his long journey, he took fever and soon died. His bones were taken from his grave and burned, his property confiscated and his memory declared infamous by the Inquisition.
Francisco San-Romano was born in Burgos. He was the son of the mayor of Bribiesca. He pursued trade in the Netherlands. In 1540 his employers sent San-Romano from Antwerp to Bremen to settle some of their accounts. While in Bremen San-Romano learned about reformed doctrine and went to a service at a Dutch Reformed Church, where he heard Jacob Spreng preach. Spreng had been a prior of the Augustinian monastery in Antwerp, and he was one of the first people in the Netherlands to embrace the teachings of Luther. Spreng’s sermon made a great impression on San-Romano, and he called upon Spreng seeking to learn more. He soon embraced the reformed doctrine and made acquaintance with other learned reformed men in Bremen. He particularly benefited from the friendship of Dr. John Maccabeus, a Scot who had fled Scotland after the martyrdom of Patrick Hamilton. San-Romano became very zealous to spread the gospel among his countrymen, despite Spreng’s warnings to be cautious and temperate in his desire. But San-Romano paid no heed to Spreng, and wrote to his employers about his new found faith. As a result when he returned to Antwerp two friars, who had been informed of his letter, seized him and had him thrown in prison. After eight months in prison he was released, based on the work of his friends in convincing the authorities that he had cooled in his views. San-Romano traveled to Louvain where he met with Francisco Enzinas. Enzinas advised him to be more discreet about sharing his faith and to confine himself to his calling as a tradesman, where he could do a lot of good for the kingdom, instead of seeking to be a public preacher or entering in on religious matters with everyone he met. San-Romano promised to temper his actions but having traveled to Ratisbon, where at the time emperor Charles V was meeting with Protestant leaders trying to secure their help to fight the Turks, he forgot his promise and sought an audience with the emperor. San-Romano begged him to allow the reformed faith to be proclaimed in Spain. Encouraged by the emperor’s cordiality he sought another audience, in which he derided the Spanish priests and inquisitors, begging the emperor to act on the side of truth. The emperor’s Spanish attendants were so enraged that they desired to throw San-Romano into the Danube River. The emperor restrained them saying that the young man should be sent to Spain to be properly tried. So San-Romano was transported back to Spain to be tried before the Inquisition at Valladolid. On the day that he left for Spain he was chained to a cart with other prisoners and led through the city. One of the men that had traveled with him to Ratisbon, seeing him called out to him, “What is the meaning of this? Why are you here in company with criminals and treated with such ignominy?” San-Romano raised his arms as high as he could and cried, “Do you see these iron chains? They will procure me in the presence of God greater honors than all the pomp and magnificence of the emperor’s court. O glorious bonds! You will soon shine like a crown of precious jewels. You see, my brother, how my arms and legs are bound and how my whole body, weighed down by these irons, is fastened to the cart, without being able to stir. But all these bonds cannot prevent my spirit, over which the emperor has no authority, from being perfectly free, nor from rising to the dwelling of the eternal Father to contemplate heavenly things, nor from being there continually refreshed by the sweet society of saints. Ah! Would to God that the bonds of this mortal body were already severed and that my soul could even now take flight to my heavenly home! It is my firm assurance, that soon, instead of these transient chains, everlasting joy in the glorious presence of God will be given me by the just Judge.” He appeared before the Valladolid Inquisition in 1544. Before the inquisitors he boldly proclaimed that salvation was by grace alone through faith and that the mass, auricular confession, purgatory, praying to saints, and the worship of images were all abominations to God. He was imprisoned in a dark hole of a cell and tortured by monks. On the day that he was sentenced to death he proclaimed before the court, “I maintain and will openly and clearly maintain to my latest breath that there is no creature who by his own strength, his own works, or any worthiness of his own can merit the pardon of his sins and obtain the salvation of his soul. The mercy of God alone, the work of the Mediator, who by his own blood has cleansed us from all sin, these save us.” A paper crown with pictures of demons on it was placed on his head. As he was led to the stake a mob followed him, they came to a wooden cross outside of town, where the people urged him to give it adoration, but he replied, “It is not wood which Christians adore, but God. He is present in my heart and I adore him there with all reverence. Pass on; go straight to the place of my destination.” He was placed in the middle of a large pile of wood, after it was lit, San-Romano lifted his head towards heaven in prayer, the inquisitors thought that he was trying to repent so they had the wood pulled away from him. San-Romano looked at them calling out, “What malice urges you to this? Why envy me my happiness? Why snatch me from the true glory which awaits me.” So he was thrown back into the fire, which now was very hot, where he was consumed almost instantly.
Francisco de Enzinas/Francis Dryander (November 1st, 1517-December 30th, 1552) Francisco de Enzinas was born in Burgos. He was one of ten children of the successful wool merchant Juan de Enzinas. De Enzinas was sent to the Netherlands around 1536 for commercial training, but on June 4th, 1539 he enrolled at the Collegium Trilingue of Louvain. There he fell under the spell of humanist scholarship as popularized by Desiderius Erasmus. Around that time he developed an acquaintance with the Polish Reformer Jan Łaski. In a letter to Łaski de Enzinas wrote, “All the world will, I know, be in arms against me on account of the resolution which…I have now formed to devote myself to literary pursuits. I will not…treat unbecomingly those gifts which God in his free mercy has been pleased to confer on me, unworthy as I am. It shall be my endeavor, according to my ability, to propagate divine truth.” One of his brothers, Jayme de Enzinas, studied with him at the Collegium Trilingue and collaborated on a Spanish edition of the 1538 Catechism and the Freedom of the Christian Man by Martin Luther, printed at Antwerp in 1542. Jayme was burned at the stake by the Roman Inquisition in 1547. In 1541 he enrolled at the University of Wittenberg. His desire was to study there under Philip Melanchthon. In Melanchthon’s house, de Enzinas finished a translation of the New Testament into Spanish. He took it to Antwerp to be printed by Steven Mierdman in 1543. One day an elderly Dominican monk came asking to see a copy of the Bible that was being printed. The monk looked at the first page, which read The New Testament, that is, the New Covenant of our Redeemer and only Saviour Jesus. “Covenant,” said the monk, “your translation is faithful and good, but the word Covenant grates on my ears; it is a completely Lutheran phrase.” “No, it is not a phrase of Luther’s, but of the prophets and the apostles,” replied de Enzinas. “This is intolerable, a youth, born but yesterday or the day before, claims to teach the wisest and oldest men what they have taught all their lifelong! I swear by my sacred cowl that your design is to administer to men’s souls the poisonous beverages of Luther, craftily mixing them with the most holy words of the New Testament.” Following an interview with the emperor Charles V, he was arrested by order of the emperor’s confessor, Pedro de Soto. An attempt to confiscate the printed copies of the New Testament was only partly successful. De Enzinas escaped from the Vrunte prison in Brussels in February 1545. He made his way back to Wittenberg and wrote an account of his adventures. De Enzinas’s New Testament had a marked influence on subsequent translations, of which the most important was the Reina-Valera version, still the standard Bible of the Protestant Spanish-speaking world. In March 1548, de Enzinas married fellow religious exile Margaret Elter, a native of Guelders. Soon after, the couple moved to England at the urging of Martin Bucer, the reformer of Strasburg, who also had set his sights on the relative safety of Edward VI’s realm. Thomas Cranmer took the couple into his palace at Lambeth and soon afterward appointed de Enzinas to teach Greek at Cambridge. De Enzinas left his wife and newborn daughter, Margarita, in England at the end of 1549 to have Spanish translations of Lucian, Livy and Plutarch printed. The reasons are not difficult to understand: his primary interest was publishing Spanish literature, and he knew and trusted the Continental printers more than any in England. In June 1550 his family joined him in Strasbourg. There he built what was essentially a small Spanish publishing house, which for the next two and a half years produced editions of classical works and Old Testament books in Spanish. A second daughter, Beatriz, was born in 1551. De Enzinas came close to publishing his major life project, a complete Bible translation, but he died before seeing it through the press. Carlos Gilly has demonstrated, from the Old Testament portions issued at Strasburg, that de Enzinas translated from the Latin version of Sébastien Castellio rather than the original Hebrew. De Enzinas died on December 30th, 1552, a victim of the plague at Strasburg; Margaret Elter died on February 1st, 1553.
Constantine Ponce de la Fuente (1502-1560) was born in San Clemente de la Mancha, in the diocese of Cuença. He attended the University of Alcala, where initially he spent his time in seeking pleasure and enjoying fun and jesting. For a short time he also fell into immorality and then sodomy. He soon put aside his immorality and pursuit of pleasure and became focused on his studies. An acquaintance wrote of him “that I never knew any man who loved or hated Constantine moderately.” Ponce de la Fuente became known for being scrupulous in forming intimate friendships, which once formed he was deeply loyal to, while treating all his acquaintances with warmth and familiarity. While at the university he was very drawn to the writings of Erasmus. After leaving school he declined a position as the preacher at the cathedral in Cuença, to go with a friend Vargas, and join his friend and fellow class mate, Dr. Egidius, in Seville. Egidius led Ponce de la Fuente and Vargas into the knowledge of the true Gospel, which they zealously embraced. The three close friends soon began to teach the truth to the people of Seville. A reformer of the time wrote of the three friends, “The brotherly affection which united them filled their hearts with joy, and this joy was perfumed with the sweet odor of the service of God.” The three friends worked together for several fruitful years. Then when the emperor Charles V visited Seville he heard Ponce de la Fuente preach, and was so pleased with his preaching that he appointed him as one of his chaplains. Charles V ordered Ponce de la Fuente to attend his son Philip to Flanders, “to let Flemings see that Spain is not destitute of polite scholars and orators.” He traveled to Flanders, the Netherlands, England and Germany. During this time he was able to meet with many of the reformers working in those areas. In 1555 Ponce de la Fuente returned to Seville, where he was appointed the chairmen of the College of Doctrine. As he taught through the Scriptures many young men came to the truth. The first Lent after he returned to Seville he was chosen to preach a sermon every other day at the cathedral. These sermons were so sought after by the people, that though the service did not start until eight in the morning, people desiring to secure a place in the service began to fill the church between three and four in the morning. Ponce de la Fuente worked to spread the gospel through printing many booklets including a catechism. In all his writings he stuck to simple and biblical truth, discreetly avoiding teachings that would clearly mark him as holding to reformed doctrines, while increasing the reader’s knowledge of the Bible. He wrote a two part Summary of Christian Doctrine. He only had the first part printed, knowing that the second part would clearly mark him as being a follower of Luther. He hoped that some day he would have the freedom to print it all but that day never came. In 1555 Ponce de la Fuente was put forward to fill the position of canon-magisterial in the cathedral of Seville. The archbishop and the inquisitors did not trust Ponce de la Fuente and had him tried before a church court but they were unable to find fault with his testimony and thus were unable to convict him. As persecution began to increase in Spain Ponce de la Fuente was arrested by the state and placed in prison. When Charles V heard that he was in prison he said, “If Constantine be a heretic, he is a great one!” Ponce de la Fuente was able to avoid being found guilty by the court until some of his books and writings that he had hidden before his arrest were found. In his writings he clearly laid out his belief in the doctrines being taught by Luther and his strong opposition to Rome. When Ponce de la Fuente was shown these writings he simply said, “It is unnecessary for you to produce further evidence; you have there a candid and full confession of my belief. I am in your hands, do with me as seemeth to you good.” He was kept in prison for two years in a small, dark, damp and unclean cell and was regularly tortured. During this time he is recorded to have cried out, “O my God, were there no Scythians or cannibals or pagans still more savage, that thou has permitted me to fall into the hands of these baptized fiends?” He was blessed in being confined in the same cell with a young monk from San Isidro, whose name was Fernando, who had also been imprisoned for his reformed beliefs, and who ministered to Ponce de la Fuente throughout his imprisonment. At the end of two years, sick and weak, Constantine Ponce de la Fuente died in his cell.
Auto-de-fé, which means act of faith, were elaborate public execution ceremonies conducted by the Spanish Inquisition. These ceremonies always took place on Sunday or a holiday. When several people were condemned as heretics, they were brought into the public square or a large cathedral with all solemnity, modeled after an ancient Roman triumphal march. A large representation of governmental officers and often royalty and nobility were present, alongside church officers and inquisitors, and large crowds, who were promised a pardon for sins committed in the next forty days if they observed the proceedings. Those condemned to die were dressed in a loose tunic, called a san-benito, which was either yellow with a red cross or black with red flames and devils, and usually made of sack cloth. They also often wore a white paper cap, called a coroza. Those that recanted were either sentenced to life in prison or strangled to death before their bodies were burned, instead of being burned alive. Those who refused to recant were burned alive at the stake. The first auto-de-fé of Protestants was held on May 21st, 1559 in Valladolid. Fourteen people were burned alive, most of whom were people of rank. The first of many auto-de-fé of Protestants in Seville was on September 24th, 1559, when twenty-one persons were burned alive and eighty others were sentenced to lesser punishments.
Queen Joanna (1479 – 1555) was born to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, heiress to vast dominions including Spain, Naples, and Sicily. From an early age she rebelled against the horrors and fanaticism of Romism which her mother wholeheartedly embraced. Queen Isabella employed officers of the Roman Catholics and torture against her daughter in an effort to turn her back to Catholicism and away from biblical Christianity. Unsuccessful, she declared Joanna mad (necessary because of the almost universal detestation of the priesthood) and removed her from her rightful succession to the throne upon Queen Isabella’s death. The alleged madness was denied by Joanna’s servants and officers who were about her in 1520, “…she has always been as sound in mind and as rational as at the time of her marriage.” This false accusation continues to this day. Married around the age of 17 to Philip, archduke of Burgundy (in the Netherlands), Joanna gave birth at the age of 21 to a son who would become Emperor Charles V. Joanna received fresh information in the way of true religion from the Lollards, the Vaudois, and the Brethren of the Common Life which strengthened her in her opposition to Catholicism. Because of Joanna’s steady and determined resistance to participation in the Roman Catholic rites in the midst of torture and continual pushing by Catholic officials, she spent over 49 years in cruel imprisonment, denied privileges granted even to murderers, kept there by her father, husband, and son, those who should have protected and cherished her. Queen Joanna died at the age of 76, steadfast to the end, having spent the last year of her life strictly confined in her dungeon, covered in tumors, and laying in filth which was never removed. Her last words were “Jesus Christ crucified, be with me.”
Don Carlos (1545-1568) was the son of Philip II and Maria of Portugal, and was heir to the throne. When he was fourteen he was present for the first auto-de-fé of Protestants, held in Valladolid. Watching the cruelty of the inquisitors and the horror of the burning of the Protestant believers filled Don Carlos with a hatred and disgust for the Inquisition. He grew in his distrust of the Roman Church and thus was accused of being mentally instable and was barred by his father from inheriting the crown. In 1565 Don Carlos made a failed attempt to escape to Flanders and then to Germany. He also worked to help the Protestant rebellion in the Netherlands. Philip II had him arrested for treason. While in prison Don Carlos was murdered, by the order of Philip II. There is some evidence that Philip himself, with some attendants, entered Don Carlos’ cell dressed in a full suite of armor and raised the sword that took his life. It is not known how much Don Carlos embraced reformed doctrine, but he was very sympathetic to Protestantism, and greatly suffered for that sympathy.
The Monks of the Hieronymite Monastery of San Isidro del Campo, which is just two miles outside of Seville, almost entirely embraced reformed doctrine. The monastery was led by Garcia de Arias, commonly called Doctor Blanco (White), due to the extreme whiteness of his hair. Doctor Blanco slowly began to reject the errors of Rome and very cautiously began teaching the truth of the Bible. Once the monks began to embrace the truth in 1557, Casiodoro de Reina, one of the monks, became a leader in bringing about positive change in the monastery. They secured reformed books and Bibles in Spanish, which greatly aided them in the pursuit of the truth. Soon they put aside all Popish superstitions except the wearing of the monkish habits and the observance of the mass, because setting these aside would dangerously expose their new beliefs. They traveled throughout Spain seeking to share the truth and to distribute Spanish Bibles and reformed writings. Through their work many of the other Hieronymite monasteries were infiltrated with reform, most notably the Monastery of Valle de Ecija, which fully accepted the truth. In the beginning of 1558 they decided it was wrong to continue observing the mass and that it was no longer safe to live in Spain. At first twelve of their number left, among them Cipriano de Valera and Casiodoro de Reina, each separately working his way to Geneva. A few days after this group left a wave of persecution broke on Seville. Those monks that were unable to flee, following their brothers into exile, were quickly imprisoned. On September 24th, 1559 four of the monks were burned at the stake, Doctor Blanco, Christobal d’Arellano, Juan Chrisostomo, and Juan de Leon. They were burned alongside of two pastors of Protestant churches in Seville, Fernando de San Juan and Christobal Losada. Those that escaped Spain worked pastoring and supporting Spanish churches throughout Europe, in cities such as Geneva, Basle, Antwerp, London and Frankfurt.
Casiodoro de Reina (1520-March 15th, 1594) was born about 1520 in Montemolín in the Province of Badajoz. From his youth on he studied the Bible. In 1557 he became a monk of the Hieronymite Monastery of San Isidro del Campo. De Reina was one of the first in the monastery to embrace the Gospel, he then became a leader for reform among his brothers in the monastery. He was among twelve monks that chose to leave on the eve of an outbreak of persecution. De Reina first traveled to Geneva. From there he traveled to London, where he served as a pastor to Spanish Protestant refugees. During this time de Reina married and had several children. In April 1564 he went to Frankfurt, where he settled his family. De Reina wrote the first great book against the Inquisition, entitled Some Arts of Holy Inquisition. While in exile, de Reina began translating the Bible into Spanish. The translation was based on the Hebrew Masoretic Text (Bomberg’s Edition, 1525) and the Greek Textus Receptus (Stephanus’ Edition, 1550). As secondary sources, de Reina used the Ferrara Bible for the Old Testament and the Latin Edition of Santes Pagnino. For the New Testament, he was greatly aided by the translations of Francisco de Enzinas. The translation was first published on September 28th, 1569, in Basle, Switzerland. His translation was commonly called “Biblia del Oso”, or Bible of the Bear, because the illustration on the title page showed a bear trying to reach a container of honeycombs hanging from a tree.
Cipriano de Valera (1532–1600) was born at Fregenal de la Sierra just north of Seville. He was a student for about six years at the University of Seville and became a monk. He joined the Hieronymite Monastery of San Isidro del Campo. De Valera along with most of the other members of the local branch of the Hieronymites embraced the reformation. He was among the monks that chose to go into exile. De Valera first went to Switzerland, but then he decided to go to England on the coming of Elizabeth I to the throne. Beginning in 1559 de Valera was a professor at the University of Cambridge. He was given a fellowship at Magdalen College in 1560. He undertook the first major revision of the Spanish Bible translation of Casiodoro de Reina. First published in 1602, this version of the Bible continues to be called the Reina-Valera, even after later revisions. De Valera also edited an edition of Calvin’s Institutes in Spanish.
Through the severe persecution of Philip II and the Spanish Inquisition, all Spanish Protestants were martyred or escaped into exile. Though the Reformation in Spain was suppressed, Spanish Protestant churches were established throughout Europe, most notably in Geneva, the Netherlands and England. Of those that fled Spain most were from high ranking families and were among the most learned Spaniards of their day. This, combined with the Inquisition’s slaughter of Jews, also among some of the wealthiest and best educated citizens of Spain, was a leading factor in the decline of the Spanish Empire. The Spanish Protestant churches throughout Europe were soon absorbed by the Reformed and Lutheran denominations around them.